Grace Burns, Varsity Soccer and Basketball Player


Jane Agler

Grace Burns

 Hailing from Boston, College first-year Grace Burns has entered Oberlin as a member of not one, but two varsity athletic teams. Most athletes compete for sports that are separated by a winter off-season. Burns, however, is a member of both the women’s soccer and basketball teams, which overlap as fall and winter sports. While many have told her that she is being overly ambitious, Burns insists that she loves the sports enough to muster the energy to pursue them full-time. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


 What inspired you to pursue both soccer and basketball, despite how hard it is?

I feel like that’s not done very often here because those seasons overlap. I’ve been called crazy for doing it, but it’s what I’ve done my entire life. So, I didn’t think it was that [ambitious] to just come here and jump right in. I missed the first week of basketball season because there was that overlap. [During soccer season] I was at practice, but couldn’t participate. When you’re in one sport, you’re not allowed to practice in another. We had 6 a.m. practices during midterms and I decided to sit on the side.

What is being on two separate teams like?

It’s just trying to balance the two different teams and still giving time to [both] because I’m being pulled in two different directions. But it’s gone really well. I feel like the [two] teams that I’m on now have a shared connection and we’ve done little team events together. It’s been really cute. They’re a little bit different but it’s really supportive all around. 

How has being on a varsity sports team shaped your experience at Oberlin?

I think it was really good because I got to get used to being on campus and just living in a college environment. I feel like I can feel free to go out and try new things, but always know that I have a built-in support system to fall back on.

The women’s varsity basketball team has a new coach. How has this transition been?

She’s awesome. She’s intense, but we’re learning so much so quickly. It’s a transition because it’s all new for everyone this year, so we’re going through a learning period where everyone’s just trying to figure each other out. But it’s been good so far. We started [working] in the summer — she sent us all books and a list of things on how to be a good teammate. We also do little breakdown team activities where you’re trying to work on community support and all that sort of stuff. We also hang out a lot together, so that forms chemistry. There’s only two [first-years], [including me]. So there’s not a lot of turnover, which is good.

Outside of athletics, what are you interested in?

I hope to be a geology major, so I’m working towards that right now. I’ve always liked it as a kid growing up. I’m excited for next semester because I’ll have my first lab. I’m taking GEOL120. I also hang out with my [Peer Advising Leader cohort] a lot. Tuesdays and Thursdays before we have class together, we eat breakfast together in [Stevenson Dining Hall]. It’s another little community that I can find myself in. It also gives me friends who are outside of athletics and opened up the door to the rest of Oberlin.

I also work on campus in South kitchen. I make grab-and-go [items] and work in Decafé. I’ve got the morning shift, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. I make dry sandwiches — without condiments, by the way. So all of the sandwiches tomorrow are just dry.

What are you doing for your first Winter Term?

I’m working with Professor [of Geology] Karla Hubbard in her geology lab. I’m taking pictures of shells that have been set in resin with an electron microscope and I’m looking at different fungus and bacteria that they bore into the shells. You then count how many little holes there are and tell the rate of decay. I’m just taking the pictures, though. As of now, I don’t think I’ll be [doing the] counting.

 I have to ask, how do you feel about the Boston Celtics this season?

Pretty good. We started off really well. I’m glad not to have Kyrie [Irving]. He wasn’t supporting the younger players in any way to help them grow.